I first heard the idea of engaging your humanity while on a Shane Safir webinar last summer. She referenced it during the agreements at the beginning. She said, “engage your humanity-children and pets welcome.” A fellow attendee expanded on the concept during breakout. She explained that engaging your humanity is the next step in self-care. It includes self-care and realizes that you, me, each of us is in the web of humanity. We are connected to one another.
Much of the trauma we experience happens at the hand of another human being. Typically we who experience trauma shut other people out as a way to protect ourselves. Even people who use sex as a coping tool, use physical touch as a way to protect themselves from others getting close to them emotionally. We shut people out. We rely on ourselves. We don’t ask for help. We don’t want to get hurt again.
Engaging in our humanity asks us to reconsider. Reconsider, even if we have been hurt. Perhaps even reconsider because we have been hurt.
Living in America in 2021 means you have been hurt; some more than others. For our brothers and sisters of color, the oppression continues for white people who are waking up, we see the pain caused by our ancestors. We see the pain the systems have and continue to cause, that we benefit from. We have experienced pain through the collective grief of the Covid-19 Pandemic and the political system.
A call to unity is not enough. Saying sorry is not enough. I do not know what it will take, but know that accountability and restoration are needed. This blog will reflect on more on these concepts soon.
We are all tired. Bone tired. Self-care isn’t cutting it. By itself, self-care can’t cut it. Self-care rises out of individualism. One has to take care of oneself- this is true. For the most part, no one is going to take care of you. In reality no one can do it for you.
To practice self-care and stop there is not enough. It would never be enough. To stop there leaves us on our own. To engage one’s humanity is to acknowledge that I am a part, a needed part, and yet just a part of a larger web.
My web includes all of me-the good, the bad, the challenging, warts and all. It includes my people AND me, my humanity. My achievements and mistakes are woven into the fabric. It needs me to be well taken care of and also plugged into my web.
My self-care is important because my web needs me to be the best I can. My part of the web can be damaged by my action or inaction. My web needs me well cared for and present.
For those of us who have experienced trauma, we are unable to engage in our humanity with healing and support. If the impacts of your trauma keep you from engaging in your humanity, I encourage you to take a huge step that will feel scary. I would ask that you seek out professional help from people trained to walk beside you while you heal. While you learn to be ok in your humanity.
For some, you may have never felt comfortable in your humanity. You may have never felt welcome there. In the place where you are you. In the place where you are safe and you are enough. I reassure you, this place exists. You may not be there now, but it does exist somewhere and there are people who can help find it.
There are trauma support groups, trauma counselors and some of this may be free.
In Oregon, you can find information at your county health department. Click here to find your county health department.
211info has trauma resources by zip code. You can search online: click her to go to https://www.211info.org/. Or you can TEXT your zip code to 898211 (TXT211); (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm).
On Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists. Here you can find therapists, support groups and programs. These can be filtered by location and insurance.
If you live in Oregon and don’t have insurance, you may be eligible for a free plan that includes mental health care. Click here to find contact info for a person who can walk you through the insurance process.